CONSTRAINTS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Biology as a branch of science plays a vital role in providing knowledge of relevant concepts, scientific skills, environment and natural phenomena. It helps to develop science process skills and scientific attitude. Education on the other hand is a designed process for training an individual by which knowledge is acquired (Eya, 2010). He opined that it is a vital developmental process which is directly related to the effectiveness of trained manpower. Biology Education is a process of imparting knowledge, skills and attitudes in Biology to a learners at any level. It gives the learner a sound academic knowledge, skills and ample opportunity to apply this knowledge. According to Okenyi (2012), Biology Education is an application of principles of education in teaching and learning of Biology. It is also the act of teaching and training in order to inculcate or transfer the knowledge of Biology to students
Biology is the study of natural phenomena and environment which results from curiosity oj man (Nlewem, 2005). Biology is also a branch of science which has been structured to equip the students with the knowledge of relevant concepts and scientific skills (Adepoju (2016). Biology is all the knowledge of living things that has come to us from the past. It is therefore the science of life. Biology education is the act of teaching and learning in order to inculcate or transfer the knowledge of Biology to the student (Okenyi, 2012). Educating people in science especially Biology has been widely acknowledged as a way of promoting economic development, eliminating poverty and introducing social welfare (Nwagbo, 2005).
Over the years, science education in Nigeria has faced various Problems. The school curriculum offers a child-centered teaching-learning approach as students are encouraged to take up the science related subjects including biology, which occupies a unique position in the school curriculum and is central to many science related courses (Aina 2012). In Nigeria, the inclusion of science subjects in the school curriculum is to promote national development as the nation adopts more science oriented policies and programmes in education (Oriahi et al., 2010). Poor performance of students is mainly due to lack of motivation for teachers; poor infrastructural facilities; attitude of students to learning; lack of teaching skills and competence by science teachers; and lack of opportunities for professional development of science teachers (Braimoh and Okadeyi, 2001; Olaleye, 2002). Other factors include syllabus, teacher’s qualifications, workload, experience and disposition, general lack of teaching skills and ineffective style of delivery of subject matter are also identified as some of the causes (Adepoju, 2016; Salau, 2016). Scientific issues involve the teaching of biological concepts through technology so as to develop science through interesting contexts. The inclusion of science-technology-society (S-T-S) issues in the school curriculum (Osborne and Collins, 2000) will achieve the engagement of students in problem solving activities. Ideal teaching refers to the teaching and learning process as it is expected to take place in a classroom in an ideal situation. Actual teaching is the teaching and learning process that actually takes place in the classroom in relation to the prevailing academic and environmental conditions. Quality teaching is the process of continuously improving teaching and learning in order to bring desirable education goals in the school system. It is the principal measure of the effectiveness of education and the most attribute to suffer. Teaching and learning are improved continuously and maintained to bring the desired goals (Aminu, 2015). Quality teaching in biology is crucial for developing scientifically literate citizens and improving economic productivity for sustainable development. It enhances students achievement and strengthens public confidence in schools. Quality teaching helps students to attain a deep conceptual understanding (AAAS, 1989). Quality teaching is characterized by an adequate knowledge of subject matter; encouraging inquiry and hands-on approach to learning for students; and recognizing individual students as learners as the teacher builds on learner’s strengths rather than trying to stamp out their weaknesses. Quality teaching helps teachers to focus on the educational improvement of learners through the integration of adequate knowledge of the curriculum content areas, functional pedagogic skills, critical reflective teaching, empathy and commitment to the educational process and the acquisition of managerial competencies within and outside the school context. Quality teachers of biology are knowledgeable about biology, learning and science teaching and they create an environment in which students are regarded and treated as active learners. Teaching and learning of biology involves teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and teaching pedagogy (Ball and McDiarmids, 2010).
Biology as one of the science subject is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it is a fact that Biology is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.
Effective teaching of Biology is a process by which a Biology teacher adopt all the possible method used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand Biology and be able to respond positively during assessment or to produce a good result. Teachers’ effectiveness is exhibited in the teaching method, classroom managements, the material as well as the way students are being handled, a good teacher always bear in mind the individual differences of the students while presenting the lesson and frequently check the student’s understanding of his or her points to make sure that they are getting of understanding his lesson. This also includes the ability of the teacher to answer question asked by the students, having knowledge about his or her subject matter and ability to show students how to conduct appropriate research.
Effective teaching is crucial, in order for students to reach educational success in and outside classroom setting, therefore, there has been some factors militating against effective teaching of Biology in senior secondary school in Ikere Local Government Area, which some of them are as follows:
- Unqualified Biology teacher: Inappropriate training background of science teachers especially Biology teachers and qualification of Biology teachers are the major factor that militate against effective teaching of Biology because some Biology teachers in some senior secondary school did not undergo enough training to enable them get skills, qualities and enough knowledge of the subject matter and how to impact the knowledge to the students.
- Poor method of teaching Biology in senior secondary school: For teaching to be effectives one must use different methods of teaching. According to Eke (2001), teaching is effective if only it produces or yields the desired results, the ability of the teacher to adapt to different situations and produce a desired result in the classroom is a mark of teaching effectiveness. Vennier and Faith (2001) are of the opinion that all the teaching activities are supposed to produce learning, so that test of effective teaching will be amount of learning that occurs.
Students’ difficulties in learning biology have been studied by various researchers across the world (Johnstone and Mahmoud, 2016) . Many concepts or topics in biology, including water transport in plants, protein synthesis, respiration and photosynthesis, gaseous exchange, energy, cells, mitosis and meiosis, organs, physiological processes, hormonal regulation, oxygen transport, genetics, Mendelian genetics, genetic engineering, and the central nervous system can be perceived as difficult to learn by secondary school students. Tekkaya et al. (2001) also found that hormones, genes and chromosomes, mitosis and meiosis, the nervous system, and mendelian genetics were considered difficult concepts by secondary school students. Experiencing difficulties in so many topics in biology negatively affects students’ motivation and achievement (Özcan, 2003). Students’ difficulties with many topics in biology have stimulated researchers to investigate why students experience such difficulties and how to overcome these difficulties.
There are many reasons why students have difficulties in learning biological concepts ( ; Zeidan, 2010). The nature of science itself and its teaching methods are among the reasons for the difficulties in learning science, while according to Lazarowitz and Penso (
2012), the biological level of organization and the abstract level of the concepts make learning biology difficult. Overloaded biology curricula, the abstract and interdisciplinary nature of biological concepts, and difficulties with the textbooks are the other factors preventing students from learning
biology effectively (Tekkaya et al., 2001). Chiepetta and Fillman (2008) state that overloaded biology curricula may not contribute to students’ achievement and lead them to learn the material through memorization. This, of course, prevents meaningful learning. Designing learning environments while ignoring students’ interests and expectations causes several learning problems as well as decreasing their interest in biology ( Atav, 2006; Zeidan, 2010). Fraser (1998) indicates that there is a close relationship between students’ perceptions of their classroom learning environment and their success. Osborne and Collins (2001) also report that students’ diminishing interest in learning science was due to the curriculum content being overloaded and not generally related to working life, the lack of discussion of topics of interest, the absence of creative expression opportunities, the alienation of science from society and the prevalence of isolated science subjects. Another reason reported by many researchers, specifically in Turkey, is that due to the nature of biological science, biology learning is generally based on memorization. Biological science includes many abstract concepts, events, topics and facts that students have to learn. This makes it hard for students to learn them (Anderson et al., 1990; Efe, 2002; Özcan, 2003; ; Durmaz, 2007). Teachers’ styles of biology teaching and teaching methods and techniques may also be factors that affect students’ learning in biology (Çimer, 2004). If students are not happy with the way that biology is taught, they may show disinterest in and negative attitudes towards biology and its teaching.
Also, in addition to determining the factors that negatively affect students’ learning in biology, understanding students’ views on what makes their biology learning effective is crucial, as many researchers suggest that in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning in school, students’ views must be taken into consideration by researchers, teacher educators, schools and teachers (Fullan, 2011; Ekici, 2010). They argue that what students say about teaching, learning and schooling is not only worth listening to but provides an important perhaps the most important foundation for thinking about ways of improving teaching, learning and schools. For instance, Phoenix (2000) states that student views of teaching may reflect the ways that they learn best. Indeed, schools that acknowledge the significance of student views have found that these views can make a substantial contribution to classroom management, to learning and teaching, and to the school as a social and learning place (Macbeath et al., 2000). It is thought that how students perceive the learning environment in biology affects their attitudes towards biology and its learning ( Telli et al., 2009). Therefore, understanding secondary school students’ perceptions of biology will help policymakers, teachers and teacher educators plan more effective teaching activities that can help students learn biology better and have more positive attitudes towards it.
In summary, ineffective of teaching of Biology in Ondo wesLocal Government Area could be due to the several reasons such as classroom management, communication, teachers qualification, supply of Biology equipment, teachers personality, negligence of seminars, and workshop by the teachers of Biology, inadequate illustration and practical aspect of Biology is another factors, infrastructural facilities and absences of laboratories etc.
Statement Of The Problem
Generally, secondary schools students find the study of biology very hard to cope with, many of them drop the subject for other simpler subjects. This is of course the reason for poor performance in biology in WAEC and other examination. Most often, the student are very interested and eager to learn but either due to inefficiency of laboratory or the attitude of the master handling the subject may discourage them from continuing. At times students complain that the subject is very fast and the periods allocated for it is not enough to do the theory and the practical aspect. This situation that makes coverage difficult, it is at the expense on in-depth attention some of the secondary schools do not have biology laboratories and in some cases where biology laboratories are available they are not properly equipped, the absence of trained laboratory attendants hinder the effective use of the laboratories.
In the recent times there has been an explosion in the number of schools and students and enrolment has risen astronomically especially in biology without a corresponding increase in the number of teachers. This makes class management and individuals attention difficult most time, students attribute the cause of their continuous failure in biology to their teachers, who may not have relevant teaching experiment most of these unqualified teachers engage in teaching activities which eventually turn out to be a jumble of unrelated activities and an expensive waste of time thus impairing the performance of students.
The important of biology to mankind can not be over emphaisies, Biology is one of the core science subjects, which is supposed to be the most interesting subject to students in senior secondary schools. It has been discovered that the effective teaching of Biology has been very important. But the rate at which students fails Biology in result time’s shows that effective learning has not been attained by these students. It could be revealed that many secondary schools, especially the public schools have insufficient competent teachers as well as biological equipment in their different schools. Therefore, there is the need to answer certain questions to re-enforce their effectiveness in teaching.
Purpose Of Study
The purpose of the study is to find out the constraint of effective teaching and learning of Biology in Ondo West local government area.
Specifically the study aims at finding out.
- the Constrint facing teaching and learning of Biology in Ondo west
- to determine if teachers’ attitude towards the teaching and learning of Biology affect students performance
- to find out if teacher qualification affect the teaching and learning of Biology?
- To determine if the use of instructional materials affect students academic performance in Biology
The following research questions were formulated for the study
- What are the constraints facing teaching and learning of Biology in Ondo West Local Government Area?
- does teachers’ attitude towards the teaching and learning of Biology affect students performance
- To what extent does teacher qualification affect the teaching and learning of Biology?
- Does the use of instructional materials affect students academic performance in Biology
The following null hypothesis would be tested at 0.05 level of significance
- Problems encounter in teaching Biology does have significant different in teaching Biology
- Teachers attitude does not have significant different in teaching and learning Biology
- Teachers qualification does not have significant effect on the teaching and learning of Biology
Significant Of The Study
This research will be beneficial to:
- Teachers: The result of this research will enable teachers to use different teaching methods in teaching Biology
- The result of this study will enable educational supervisors (government officials) to check the activities of schools and show that qualified teachers are used.
- To provide adequate information in the availability of the scientific specific Biology equipment in senior secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area.
Scope Of Study
The study is aimed at investigating the problems in teaching Biology in selected secondary schools in Ondo west local government. Five selected secondary schools were randomly selected in the study area
Definition Of The Basic Concepts
Factors: Are one of the element contributing to a particular result or situation.
Militate against: This is a process of making something less likely to happen or succeed. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary militate against is to prevent something or to make it difficult for something to happen or exist.
Teaching: this means to impart knowledge to or to instruct someone as to do something. Okonkwo (2005) in Oforkansi (2008) defined teaching as a deliberate effort by a mature or experienced person to impart information, knowledge, values skills, norms (standard behavior) more (moral values) attitude language and so on to an immature or less experienced person through the process that is morally and pedagogically acceptable.
Effective teaching: is a process by which a teacher adopt all the possible skills or method used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand the lesson and be able to respond positively during evaluation and produce a good result.
Biology: Biology is the study of life and living things. It is also a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms including their structure, function, growth, evolution distribution and taxonomy.
Senior secondary school: This is a period of study from senior secondary school one to senior secondary school three.
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